HONOLULU (KHON2) — Kids between the ages of five and 11 could be getting their first COVID vaccine doses within the next couple of weeks as Pfizer submitted their formal request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday, Oct. 7.
Pfizer’s request to the FDA comes weeks after they submitted data showing their vaccine produced a strong antibody response in kids aged five to 11 and had no serious side effects.
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Currently, the FDA has fully approved Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for people aged 16 and older. Those aged 12 to 15 can get the Pfizer vaccine under emergency use authorization. On Tuesday, Oct. 26, the FDA advisory committee plans to meet to discuss emergency use in keiki aged 5 to 11.
“It’s very significant,” explained Lt. Gov. Josh Green. “They’ll be meeting on Oct. 26, if they don’t schedule an earlier meeting.”
The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) estimated that there are roughly 119,473 children between the ages of five and 11 in Hawaii.
Pfizer studied 2,268 children and had good results: “What they did was dilute it to a third of the strength [of the adult vaccine] — so, to 10 micrograms — so the 10 micrograms will be both effective and safe,” explained Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
Some pediatricians have already suggested to parents and patients to their kids get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“We know from the studies it seems to be effective, and it’s certainly another way of protecting children that right now have no protection besides urging parents or older children in the home to be vaccinated,” said pediatrician Dr. Amy Harpstrite.
Doctors also urged pregnant women to get vaccinated due to an alarming number of new moms who have passed away across the country during the delta surge.
“It’s now become the leading cause of death in pregnancy in the United States,” said Dr. Keith Ogasawara, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii maternal-fetal medicine specialist.
Dr. Ogasawara said many are being fed misinformation.
“They can never really cite anything, they said, ‘oh, I’ve heard this and that,’ and, you know, it’s very unfortunate,” he explained.
Pregnancy is considered high-risk and an immunocompromised state, especially in the third trimester.
“They shift a lot of their resources over to just maintaining the pregnancy, and one of my colleagues says it doesn’t take much to push you over the edge at that stage, and so pregnancy is an immune-compromised state,” Dr. Ogasawara continued.
Health officials urge pregnant women to get their booster shots too.
“If we get them fully vaccinated by the time they deliver, not only does it protect them, but it’s going to protect their newborn,” Dr. Ogasawara added.
He said the risks associated with catching COVID far outweigh any side effects associated with the vaccine. Nationwide, about 31% of pregnant women are vaccinated.
“We always worry about stillbirth; we’re starting to see women who have stillbirths that might be COVID associated,” he said.
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“Moms are dying, it’s a tragedy. I mean, I always think about these — the two moms locally that died — and it’s something we could have hopefully prevented. So, I’ve just been pleading with people, please, please, I beg them just consider getting the vaccine, please,” Dr. Ogasawra said.